November 14, 2012
Thomas announces 2013 softball signing class
Four new Hokies join the program

BLACKSBURG - Virginia Tech head softball coach Scot Thomas announced Wednesday the signing of four standout players to National Letters of Intent who will enroll at Tech in Fall of 2013.

Elizabeth Birle, Vanessa Gonzalez, Cailey Isaacs and Aysha Richadson are all highly decorated recruits who will make immediate impacts on the field for the Hokies. Birle, a 2012 MaxPreps Junior Class All-American, hails from Winter Springs, Fla., and is expected to play first base and pitch for the Hokies. Gonzalez, an outfielder/first baseman from Torrance, Calif., was an All-CIF Southern Cal selection as a junior and Isaacs, an outfielder from Georgetown, Del., batted .400 as a junior, leading her school to the Delaware State Championship. Richardson is a talented outfielder who earned all-state honors the past two seasons.

Several other players will enroll at Tech with these four as recruited walk-ons, but their names cannot be released at this time per NCAA rules.

Below are the bios on Tech’s four newest signees, in alphabetical order:

Elizabeth Birle
Winter Spings H.S./Winter Springs, Fla.

Pronounced BUR-lee

High School:
Is a senior at Winter Springs High, where she plays softball for coach Mark Huaman … Batted .451 with 41 RBIs and 13 home runs as a junior … A 2012 Max Preps Junior Class All-American … A member of the Orlando Sentinel All-Central Florida Team … A first-team all-state Group 7A selection as a junior, as well as a first-team all-area and first-team all-conference selection … Named first-team all-state as a designated player following her sophomore season … Was also a first-team all-area and first-team all-conference selection that year … Holds the single-season (13) and career (30) home run records at WSHS … Was the first pitcher to pitch a perfect game in the school history … A four-year varsity starter for her high school softball squad … Team has reached the state semifinals (2010-6A) & state championship game (2011-7A) in her time there … Holds two individual Junior Olympic Gold medals in swimming (backstroke) as well as an individual silver and a bronze … Has also earned four varsity letters in swimming, holding the school record in the 200 Medley Relay (backstroke) … Is a three-time regional qualifier … Has earned three letters in weightlifting … Plays travel ball for Coach Marty Cooper and the Gold Coast Hurricanes 18U Gold … Has competed in ASA Gold Nationals three times with the Hurricanes, finishing ninth in 2010, fourth in 2011 and a 13th in 2012.

Personal: Elizabeth Anne Birle was born March 28, 1995 in Orlando, FL … The daughter of Eric and Wendi Birle … Father was a pitcher at Old Dominion University … Has a younger brother, Kenny … Aspires to be an on-the-field correspondent for ESPN.

Coach Thomas on Birle: “I’m really excited about Elizabeth. She is the top power-hitting first baseman out of Florida and has tremendous character. She is a great sign for us and with all the competition for the top Florida kids, it makes Elizabeth an even bigger get for us. She comes to us from one of the top summer programs in the country, the Gold Coast Hurricanes.”

Vanessa Gonzalez
North H.S./Torrance, Calif.

High School:
Plays for Coach Howard Miller at North High School … As a junior, hit .500 overall and .625 in league contests … Had 48 hits, nine doubles, three triples and nine home runs … Named MVP of the Pioneer League and of her high school team … A first-team All-Daily Breeze area selection … A first-team All-CIF Southern Cal Division III selection … An All-State Underclassmen Selection by ESPNHS California … As a sophomore, was a first-team All-Pioneer League Selection as well as a first-team All-Daily Breeze Area Selection … Was named Most Outstanding Player of her high school squad … Plays travel ball for Coach Jim Snyder and the Firecrackers 18 Gold.

Personal: Vanessa Maree Gonzalez was born Sept. 1, 1995 in Torrance, CA … The daughter of Manny and Wendy Gonzalez … Has three siblings: Monique, Isabella and Diego.

Coach Thomas on Gonzalez: “Vanessa is a very solid utility player who can hit for power or average. We are looking at her as an outfielder, but she can play in the infield as well. Although she came to us from the Lew Currier and the Mizuno Pride organization, that program has shut down and she was picked up by the nationally recognized Firecracker organization out of Southern California. She has good size and I think a big upside to her game.”

Cailey Isaacs
Laurel H.S./Georgetown, Del.

High School:
Spent her first three years of high school at Sussex Technical High School in Georgetown, DE before transferring to Laurel High School in Laurel, DE for her senior season … Plays for Coach Jodi Green at Laurel … Batted .400 as a junior with an on base percentage of .500 and scored 18 runs as Sussex captured the Delaware State Championship … Batted .404 as a sophomore with an on base percentage of .484 and scored 22 runs as her team captured the Henlopen Conference Championship … As a freshman, batted .520, had 17 stolen bases, an on base percentage of .600 and scored 19 runs … Selected Miss NSA at the 2010 NSA Eastern World Series in Chattanooga, TN … Selected for the Adidas Futures Tournament in 2011 (St. Georges, UT) for NC Lady Lightning Gold Team Miken, finishing seventh out of 50 teams and led the team in on base percentage (.571) … Also selected to play in two additional all-star games (Team Abbott) at this tournament … A member of the National Honor Society all four years and was selected for the National Society of High School Scholars … Also competes on the dance team … Plays travel ball for Coach Joe Spine and the PA Chaos Gold 2012 … Also played for Lady Lightning Gold Team Miken out of North Carolina (2011 & 2012) for Coach John Corn.

Personal: Cailey Dakota Isaacs was born Nov. 10, 1995 in Milford, DE … The daughter of Dr. Mark and Cindy Isaacs … Has an older brother, Gunnar, who attends the University of Delaware.

Coach Thomas on Isaacs: “Tremendous energy and enthusiasm would describe Cailey Isaacs, who will be competing for playing time in the outfield. She is a lefty stick and can hit with gap power or play the short game. She comes from a Clemson family with her parents both being Clemson alums, but they look great in orange and maroon!”

Aysha Richardson
Orange County H.S./Louisa, Va.

Pronounced like Asia

High School:
Plays at Orange County High School … Batted .527 as a junior with an on base percentage of .565 and had 167 strikeouts in the circle with a 0.91 ERA … Was named first-team all-district, first-team all-region, first-team all-area and earned honorable mention all-state honors for her play … As a sophomore, was first-team all district, first-team all-region, and first-team all state for the Group AA level … As a freshman, earned first-team all-district, first-team all region and first-team all-area honors … Plays travel ball for Coach Walter Pettus and the Richmond Diamonds.

Personal: Aysha Zhane Richardson was born Jan. 13, 1995 on Scotts Airforce Base in St. Clair, IL … The daughter of Scott and Yvette Richardson … Has an older brother, Miles.

Coach Thomas on Richardson: “Aysha is an incredible athlete who I would compare to Lauren Gaskill. She has great foot speed with the ability to hit for power or burn you with a bunt. It’s always great to get the top players out of the state of Virginia.”

For updates on Virginia Tech softball, follow the Hokies on Twitter (@VT_Softball).

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